The Lay of The Land

I haven’t written on the blog in a long while, so I’m going to do a few catch up posts. Firstly I’ve been giving a lot of time to the Music Elective project I’m doing, it’s the closest to completion and I’m really excited about how far the project has come.
A few months ago I’d never used Ableton and now have made almost 25 minutes of music, composed in a semi-improvised fashion inside the software. I’m on the final stage at this point with the mixing and EQ stuff, but compositionally it’s all there!

I’ve been thinking as I’ve been making a lot about my research aims and how they have developed through the process of putting the EP together, and at this point I see them split in to two distinctive parts: the practical skills I’m developing and pushing my compositional technique and style / the conceptual, artistic aims of the music.

I have developed a way of composing in-software that allows for far greater dynamic and textural range than when I compose through playing with my loop and effects pedals. Though the sounds are similar and it is still definitely recognisably my music, there is a real shift in the possibilities in terms of sound that I’m able to achieve. This in turn will mean I have to develop ways of performing the material live, replicating this dynamic and textural range in an exciting way and integrating it into my existing live set.

Conceptually the EP has always been about an emotional response to the environment, however it has become more solidified into a very personal emotional work as it has been made. It is full of fear and grief and hope and anger, and I hope that it acts as a kind of exploration of those feelings, like the way people find a break up album cathartic, a way of saying it’s okay to feel these things, okay lets act on it. The last song (Mother Nature) is very short and kind of a closing statement, the lyrics are:
“My mother always said
Never wait until you’re dead
Never wait that long to act
Always be kind – that is that”

I’m not seeking to necessarily change anything with this EP, but in a way it is a protest piece, that allows space for the emotion and grief behind activism

Another element which is now at the forefront of my thinking/making is the physical manifestation of the work itself – I will release it as ‘Me Lost Me’ (my avant-folk electronicy music project) at the end of May, and have been musing over the most appropriate way of selling the EP at gigs. I feel uncomfortable putting the EP on plastic because of the concept of the work, so have decided to make a lyric zine that includes a download code for Bandcamp in it. That way people have something physical to purchase at gigs but they also are not contributing to plastic waste. The music will also be for sale on Bandcamp as a download and added to the list of streaming services my music is already available on.

I’m also very excited to be collaborating with local photographer Luke Waddington on some images that will be used as the EP cover and in promotional material for the EP and for Me Lost Me generally. We had a meeting to discuss themes and imagery in the music and decided on a selection of props to test out including clay, taxidermy bird wings, ribbon and dried flowers. He suggested a further collaboration with local florist Wildflower Ouseburn, and they have kindly offered to get involved in making something for the shoot. I’m really excited to be visually exploring the themes and to be collaborating with several newcastle-based artists on them.

Beetle shell earrings by Violet Moon Emporium and drying clay
Dried clay and magpie wing